WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs adopted its Fiscal Year 2011 bill last week, which included $44 million in economic support to Armenia and $10 million in assistance to Nagorno Karabagh, reported the Armenian Assembly of America. Funding for Armenia represents a 10-percent increase over the administration’s request of $40 million and is $3 million over the FY 2010 level of $41 million while aid to Nagorno Karabagh increased by $2 million over last year’s level of $8 million.
In response to Azerbaijan’s violation of the ceasefire earlier this month, resulting in the death of four Armenian soldiers, and in direct contradiction to stated US policy, which was reiterated this month in a letter by President Barack Obama to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the Subcommittee reiterated the need for consultation with Congress should the Administration exercise the conditional waiver of Section 907. The Assembly, in its testimony before the Subcommittee raised serious concerns about Azerbaijan’s ongoing war-mongering and strongly urged the Subcommittee to fully reinstate Section 907 and welcomed calls for greater certification requirements.
“We commend Chairwoman Lowey and the members of the Subcommittee for addressing Azerbaijan’s hostile actions and helping to safeguard the people of Nagorno Karabagh,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.
“While we appreciate that the funding levels are increasingly challenging to maintain and recognize the step up in aid to Armenia, given Turkey’s counterproductive actions with respect to Armenia-Turkey rapprochement and its ongoing blockade of Armenia, we strongly believe that additional funding is warranted, and urge Congress to consider a significant increase as the bill proceeds through the legislative process,” added Bianka Kadian-Dodov, who spearheads the Assembly’s congressional relations and was at the Capitol for the mark-up.
The Subcommittee action also reversed the administration’s request regarding asymmetrical military assistance to Armenia and Azerbaijan by ensuring parity between the two countries with $3.5 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $450,000 in International Military Education and Training (IMET). In addition, language calling for a cessation of the type of incitement and war rhetoric that continues to emanate from Baku’s leadership was also approved.